My Interview with international best selling author, Peter May (part 3)

CANADA!  Peter May is headed your way.  Don’t miss it!

Q. How do you get from ‘finished’ book from ‘no book’?  (continued)Peter.Janice

A. When I am happy with my outline, I can see what and where I still need to research. I make a list of all the locations in the story and I make a point of visiting every one of them. A sense of place is very important in my books, whether it is France, China, or the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. I never write about a place if I haven’t been there. I like to go and take video of the locations, making notes about what sort of things strike you when you are there – the heat, or cold, the smells etc.
When I get back from my location research I will make a short video of each location that I can replay when I am writing the scenes that are set there. Sometimes visiting the locations will cause me to have to change the story outline. I make any changes necessary, then I am ready to write.
Writing the actual book is probably the most difficult and least enjoyable part of the process. I want to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. I adopt a very strict routine that absolutely nothing is allowed to interfere with.
I get up at 6 am, take my breakfast to my desk, read through what I have written the day before, and start writing. I write 3,000 words per day, Monday to Friday and take the weekends off. With any luck I will have finished the book in 7 to 8 weeks.
The story outline means that I always know where I am going next. I am never worried about the story, because I have tested it and worked on it at the outline stage. I only have to worry about making my writing as good as it can be. I re-read and revise on a day to day basis, but I don’t like endless editing or tinkering.

LEWISScanI think my whole approach to writing books has been influenced by those years I spent, and the techniques I learned, writing for television. There are two parts to scriptwriting: the first part is coming up with the story, the second part is writing the script. In television, it’s possible that one writer will come up with a storyline, and a different writer will write the script, because they are two different jobs and they demand different talents.
As far as I’m concerned it’s the same thing with a book. It requires a certain way of thinking to come up with a plot and characters, and to make sure it’s a story that people will think was worth spending time reading. It’s a different job to paint pictures with words, and choose how to phrase something, to get the pace right, and carry a reader along the journey with you. That’s why I like to have an outline and get it right first, and then sit down and concentrate on the writing of it.

Q. What inspired your story/stories ?

Peter in Spain
Peter in Spain

A. Difficult question. I’ve written 20 books now, and each one has a different origin. Normally I’m touched, or enraged, or intrigued by something I have read in the news, and I go digging around finding out more about the subject and the ideas start to form. Something I love, which came from my early training as a journalist, is research. Most of the books I read are non-fiction books for researching some subject or other. For every book, the research is like an iceberg, most of it is below the surface, but the bulk of it serves to give me the confidence to write about a subject with authority.

Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`?

A. I always wanted to write the great love story. But love stories and relationships are always there in my books, so in a way I’m satisfying that desire.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

A. No, you’ve wrung me dry!

Don’t Miss Part 1 and 2 of this fascinating Interview!   Peter May is in the USA right now on a book tour~~~ check the city schedule so that you can meet him and get his book!



In addition to my twice weekly blog I also feature an interview with another author once a month. So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!    Barbara Delinsky and Elizabeth Hoyt will be my October authors.

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